Group Tours vs Independent Travel

Group Tours vs Independent Travel

For us, this has been an ever-recurring question and opinions are divided about the subject. Should you travel with group tours or would you rather travel solo? We have put the pro’s and con’s together and make a list of the differences.

Group Tours Specifics

Travel in group tours offers a lot of advantages, especially if you like hassle-free travel and the comfort of being in a group. We’ve used a variety of international travel agencies and decided on which one we like best. So whenever we decide on traveling with group tours, we always choose G Adventures. G Adventures offer a variety of possibilities and budget categories and they also have quite a few great last minute deals. And luckily, there is an abundance of options when choosing group tours. Keep reading to find out!

Group tours see more in a short time

If you’re short on time or you only have a few days of holidays to consume, group tours might be the best choice. Group tours with an international travel agency will have a full itinerary and these group tours make it possible to see an entire country in just a week. With a clear itinerary, you’ll know exactly what to expect and see how many free days are scheduled during your trip. The times we traveled with group tours, we saw so many points of interest in just a few days. It would have been possible to see as much on our own as we did with the group, but it would have been very difficult. Group tours have the advantage of repetition and private transportation for the entire group, so there will be no waiting for buses and scavenger hunts for the right accommodation. 

Group tours offer fixed itinerary

A fixed itinerary is a blessing when you’re short on time. Travel agencies have taken their time to establish the perfect itinerary in the perfect amount of days. You’ll be sure to see all the highlights and beauty of a destination quickly and organized. As a bonus, most group tours plan free days for you to explore places on your own. Some days will be open for you to choose the activity you like best. 

Group Tours Vs Independent Travel - Only Once Today
Security with group tours

Many solo travelers choose for traveling with a group for security and comfort reasons. If traveling on your own scares you or you don’t like to think about wandering the world on your own, group tours offer the perfect solution. You will be surrounded with other travelers from your group and instead of finding everything on your own, you will have someone to stand by your side. Not only solo travelers prefer the safety of a group and group tours are perfect for couples as well. 

Hassle-free travel

Group tours are an easy solution to travel hassle-free. You don’t feel like finding good lodging or planning an entire itinerary? Group tours with an international travel agency have it all figured out for you. They take care of bookings and transportation, while you can go along and enjoy the scenery without having to take care of the extra stuff. With group tours, you’ll never have to wonder if you will find a decent bed for the night or if the hostel you booked will be good. Group tours are a secure and hassle-free travel solution. 

Small group tours

Small group tours are immensely popular lately and there’s a good reason for that. Nobody wants to travel in a massive group. Big groups aren’t very cozy and it’s difficult to really connect with fifty other travelers. Small group tours are great for that. With a group varying from 6 to 20 people, you’ll have a chance to meet everyone and talk to everyone. We enjoyed our small group for traveling China a lot. Our small group consisted of 9 people and it couldn’t have been better. Small group tours are the best group tours and every travel agency should divide their groups into smaller ones, just for comfort and a better travel experience. 

Singles group tours

Singles group tours focus on single travelers and the great part about that is that you can meet a lot of new friends. There are no couples to make you feel lonely and all the other travelers could be the next big thing. You never know you might meet the love of your life while traveling through the African desert. Single group tours are a great way of meeting people in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. 

Women travel groups

Some travel agencies focus on women travel groups, especially for women. These group tours offer a specialty type of travel that many women are looking for. If you enjoy being around just women to explore new territory, women travel groups are the next big thing. You can find women travel groups for all women or for lesbian women, depending on your preference. 

Group tour packages

G Adventures offers a wide variety of specialty tour packages, like travel by rail, travel by boat, and photography tours. They even offer the National geographic experience which means you’ll get the best accommodation and the coolest inside information and excursions. Depending on your travel style or hobbies, specialty trips might give you that little extra you were looking for. Always check if the travel agency offers specialized tour packages before booking.

Budget options with group tours

Tour groups and tour packages are available in every budget category. You can either choose to travel like a local or to travel in luxury, depending on your budget. We like to check for last minute deals and promotions with G Adventures and that’s exactly how we got a great deal on our trip to China. You can check current promotions and special here!

Meet new friends in group tours

Tour groups are the best place to meet new friends for life. The bond you create with other people while traveling is very different from the bond you get with people you meet at home. Being away from home in an amazing adventure takes you a little out of your comfort zone and to be able to share this with other people is superb. Specialized group tour packages put you into a group of like-minded people and you’ll have a few great new friends by the time you get back home.

Group Tours Vs Independent Travel - Only Once Today

Independent Travel Specifics

Independent travel has the power to make you feel invincible for conquering small and great issues, but it can also leave you feeling alone and small. I’ve heard so many people tell us that traveling solo makes you a stronger person and the people you meet will leave deep impressions on you. We’ve always traveled as a couple and that is a completely different thing. With independent travel, we mean solo travel, as well as couple travel, and this post is mostly about the fact that you’re not traveling with a tour group. Finding your own pace and way in travel is a valuable thing and we love traveling independent a lot.

Independent travel can be very cheap

Independent travel allows you to set your own dates and book flights on the cheapest date. Of course, this all depends on the amount of time you have. If you have time to spare, it’s also cheaper to stay in one place longer. Many hostels offer a fourth or fifth night for free if you ask about it. Independent travel allows you to choose the cheaper hostels and to take your time to sort out the prices of accommodation and transportation: the most expensive aspects of travel. 

Group Tours Vs Independent Travel - Only Once Today
Travel at your own pace

For the slow travelers, there is a massive difference between the fast-paced group tours and your own relaxed pace. Tour groups often require you to get out of bed at 5 AM and be on the tour bus at 6 AM. Independent travel is free and you can do whatever you want to. 

Change your itinerary at will

This is probably our favorite! Even if we make an itinerary, we never stick to it. We love ditching our itinerary and the set itinerary only serves for us to do a little research on our destination, but in the end, we just do whatever we like. If a city or town is just too cute, we stay a few more days. And often a destination is nothing like what you were expecting and when traveling independently, you can just move on. It happens quite a lot that we meet other travelers in a hostel and start traveling together. People might go to a different destination you never heard about and that sounds cool… just ditch the itinerary! 

Group Tours Vs Independent Travel - Only Once Today
Meet new friends in hostels

As you meet new friends in tour groups, hostels have a similar effect on people. In hostels, you share the kitchen and communal spaces, which is perfect for meeting people and connecting. We’ve met some of our best friends in hostels and we traveled with our new friends many times. You’ll get to know people on a different level once you’re out of your home base and I believe travel friendships are quite special. 

Sense of accomplishment

Traveling on your own can make you feel very satisfied with your accomplishment. Even if dozens of people have asked you why you would travel alone instead of with the security of a tour group, you’ll feel that traveling on your own is perfectly possible. You’ll feel great about what you’ve achieved and learned along the way. Keep reading about the things you learn on the road and about the feeling of achievement you’ll get when traveling on your own.

Stay at the lodging you like best

Choosing your own lodging might be the best thing about traveling independently. Choosing lodging while on a budget has a steep learning curve and you’ll definitely end up in a few dodgy places, but you’ll learn how to choose the best accommodation for the best price after a little while. Of course, you can always use platforms like TripAdvisor to make sure your chosen place has a few good reviews before booking it!

Group Tours Vs Independent Travel - Only Once Today
Group Tours Vs Independent Travel - Only Once Today

As you can read, group travel and independent travel are very different and you will know if solo travel is for you when you try it. We’ve put the specifics in this post, but we can never catch the feeling of being surrounded by an awesome group or the feeling of meeting your future best friends in a hostel at the end of the world. Travel can take people to a different level and it can make you a new person with an open view of the world. Whatever option you like best, our most precious advice is to just travel. If you’re scared to travel because you don’t want to travel on your own, join a group! Never deny yourself the closed life that plays only in your hometown, but explore the world and become a wise citizen of the planet. Keep reading our blog to find inspiration and ideas!

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About The Author

My name is Inge. I'm a traveler, writer and photographer. All those things I want to share with you. I've traveled a lot and wish to explore some more unknown territory.

2 Comments

  1. Jessica D Festa

    I used to be all about independent travel, and still am largely; but I do see the beauty in taking a group trip once in a while. Easier, plus it’s nice to have a guide give you more information on what you’re experiencing.

    Reply
    • Inge

      We tend to switch between both types of travel as well 😁

      Reply

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